"Can you fuck it?" - The Fembot Phenomenon

curated by Elena Knox

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  • On view at
    Ningen Gallery,
    Kai Building 4F
    Kabukicho 1-13-11,
    Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
    open daily 2:30pm - 11pm
    (closed Monday) 
    July 10 - August 5, 2022
    Opening: Sat, Jul 9, 17:00

    starting July 9, 2022

Allison de Fren - Mika Kan - Elena Knox - Lin Xin
"Can you fuck it?" – The Fembot Phenomenon takes as its title one of the prevailing online comments made each time a newly developed female-appearing robot is introduced in the mainstream media. "Fine, nice work there, but can you fuck it?," ask the anonymous legions on the internet.

In response to this response, the exhibition brings together four accomplished international women artists working in Asia, who consistently take female-appearing robots as subjects in their practice. Using humor, deconstruction, and the speculative reframing of a familiar figure, we offer an engaging and up-to-date critique of the modern phenomenon of the fembot.

Should a robot be sexy? What dictates the future of technology, and who redesigns the status quo? To properly address these questions, women's ideas must be acknowledged among those who would otherwise present objectified feminine embodiment as a fait accompli. We mount a tightly focused exhibition of women-identifying artists working across video, installation, photography, drawing, painting, and social documentary and debate. It is possibly the first time an exhibition has been themed "women make art about fembots."

The exhibition takes place in the beating heart of Tokyo, in a bar/restaurant opposite the famous Robot Restaurant in Kabukicho. We stage an intervention and party here. We invite people to think about the gendering and sexualization of machinery in times to come.
Elena Knox is a media/performance artist based in Tokyo. Her works stage enactments of gender, presence and persona in technoscience and communications media. Recent presentations include Yokohama Triennale, Bangkok Art Biennale, Beijing Media Art Biennale, 'Future and the Arts' at Mori Art Museum, and 'Lux Aeterna' at Asia Culture Center.

Installation Images

Brochure Images

Allison de Fren, The Mechanical Bride, 2012, video

Mika Kan, The Future Mother 04, 2017, photograph

Elena Knox, Canny, 2013, video

Elena Knox, Lamassu Kentaurosu Wagyu (reproduction), 2018, video

Lin Xin, Don't Tell Me no.1, 2009, oil on canvas

Lin Xin, I'm What You Wish Me To Be no.2, 2010, oil on canvas

apexart’s program supporters past and present include the National Endowment for the Arts, Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the Kettering Family Foundation, the Buhl Foundation, The Martin and Rebecca Eisenberg Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Spencer Brownstone, the Kenneth A. Cowin Foundation, Epstein Teicher Philanthropies, The Greenwich Collection Ltd., William Talbott Hillman Foundation/Affirmation Arts Fund, the Fifth Floor Foundation, the Consulate General of Israel in New York, The Puffin Foundation, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Governor and administered by LMCC, funds from NYSCA Electronic Media/Film in Partnership with Wave Farm: Media Arts Assistance Fund, with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, as well as the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.